Why Your Body Needs You To Disconnect

The Way We Live

About a year ago I picked up a book called "The Off Switch" by Professor Mark Cropley which was all about learning to disconnect. Ironically the book has only just made its way to the resting place of all good, and not so good books: the bookshelf. You see it took me a year to finish the book not only because I tend to read about three books at once (the joys of being a part time Uni student), but I also was not very good at heeding the advice in the book and actually switching off.

Like many amongst us I enjoy tinkering around on my phone ad nauseam in the evening, and the phone often finds its way to the bedroom for a quick round of e-mails before bed. Oh, and in the middle of the night. And then again when I wake up. Sound familiar?

For many of us, it's really hard to "switch off" from work and more and more we are taking our work home. Heightened mobile connectivity was ultimately designed to give us freedom, however now it just means we work longer: in our free time.

The effect on our health is quite remarkable. If we're not disconnecting, we're not engaging with those around us, and we're probably not getting enough sleep as we ruminate over what we need to do/could have done. This effects both our mental health and physical wellbeing. Employers are now getting an employee that works longer but at substantially reduced rates of efficiency.

How a lack of sleep hurts you:

Our full potential: That lack of sleep, in a very simplistic sense means we're waking up tired and not working to our full potential. If you're only half-awake and semi-engaged are you really going to be working optimally?

Exercise: is surely the foundation to good health, but this can be passed up as our bodies are tired. We've probably all missed that early workout at some stage in favour of a little more sleep.

Nutrition: Staying on track with your dietary needs is tough when you're body is tired. We crave high-fat, high-sugar foods for an "instant pick me-up" and sadly this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as the chain becomes hard to break.

Our Top 3 Tips To A Less Connected Life

  1. Distinguish between work and play. Create a routine or a ritual at the end of your work day that clearly brings an end to work. This might be stretching, taking a brisk walk, or just taking a few minutes to reflect on the day from the comfort of your favourite chair. Removing physical cues that signify work are also crucial, and changing into casual clothes at the end of your work day goes along way to putting work behind you for the day.
  2. Switch it off. Give yourself an hours grace, and then switch your phone/email off. Its a tough one to get used to and in a sense many of us have created our own level of expectation.Its now time to re-adjust that level of expectation and to return calls/emails in the morning, when you're refreshed and ready.
  3. Don't bring it into the bedroom. A study by IDC Research revealed 80% of smartphone users checked their phones within the first 15 minutes of being awake, so in a sense checking our devices has become a routine. Technology and the bedroom just don't mix. If you're wanting to improve quality of sleep and therefore your efficiency at work and play, its time to ditch the phone and buy yourself an old fashioned alarm clock. That blue light emanating from your device is actually playing havoc with your bodies circadian rhythm: and telling our bodies to stay awake and alert, making sleep often impossible as we fight our own bodies natural reflexes.

Engaging In Healthier Habits

Its important to remember that what works for you may differ (and may also differ over time), and may take some fine tuning, but we'd suggest at least trying the preceding three simple tips.

Its also important to remember that changing any habit takes time and persistence. You might fall off the bandwagon along the way, but that's all part of change.

We all love simplicity, and perhaps there is no simpler correlation than plotting any change in habit. Remember the first week is always the hardest as our brains and bodies acclimatise to the new norm and let go of old habits, but with time this difficulty eases substantially.

Interested in all things health?

If you have an interest in health and fitness, you'll love the Active Nation monthly (we hate our inbox being bombarded too) newsletter, where we explore health tips, and take a look at all the latest and
greatest toys from the world of health and fitness. Sign up is simple, just click here.


This product has been added to your cart